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Pharmaceutical errors can be costly

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2013 | Medication Errors

Pharmacists are among the most trusted professionals in the nation, but sometimes a prescription is filled incorrectly with the wrong dose or medication. A diabetes patient was recently given a 1.25 level instead of the prescribed 1.50. As a result, the person’s blood sugar began creeping up. When the medication was returned to the drugstore, it was confirmed as the wrong prescription.

Another person’s 11-year-old daughter had a prescription filled for Invega, an uncommon antipsychotic medication, instead of Intuniv, which had been prescribed for the child’s ADHD. Luckily the parent noticed the error before leaving the pharmacy and brought it to the pharmacist’s attention.

Sometimes the wrong medicine can lead to serious complications or even death. In another scenario, a person with diabetes was given the medicine glipizide instead of the gout drug allopurinol. When he didn’t catch the mistake, his blood sugar dropped to a dangerous level, causing a stroke, and eventually, death. A subsequent jury trial led to the family being awarded $31 million in damages.

A medication error can have disastrous consequences, so it is always important to double-check the filling of any prescription. A negligent pharmacist may fail to consider a dangerous combination of prescriptions or fail to check for allergies. Patients should report all other medicines being taken at the time a new prescription is given so the pharmacist can check for potentially lethal interactions.

If a pharmacy-related medical problem should occur, it may be helpful to discuss the situation with an attorney who specializes in medical issues. Medication errors or a dosage mistake might lead to serious problems for a person who takes the medicine.

Source: The Gazette, “People’s pharmacy: How to avoid disaster at the drugstore“, Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, July 08, 2013